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California Walnuts see retail growth in produce department

robert verloop california walnuts

FOLSOM, Calif., November 29, 2022 ––The California walnut industry is forging a new strategic direction that will address the maturing competitive global market and support a refreshed positioning for walnuts that will highlight their unmatched versatility.

The new direction for the industry will drive impact in key areas like increasing purchase intent, consumption and usage with a focus on partnerships and agile programming.

One of the industry’s first goals is about simple geography: the movement to feature walnuts in retailers’ produce departments.

“While walnuts will always have a home in the baking aisle, there is the potential to capitalize on the wealth of positive attributes that walnuts offer, starting with the perception of walnuts as a fresh produce item,” said Robert Verloop, recently named CEO of the California Walnut Commission.

In fact, walnuts fit the recently announced Food and Drug Administration’s proposed definition of a healthy food, and earlier this year, the Merriam-Webster dictionary officially added a plant-based definition that included nuts, along with fruits and vegetables.

Both recent announcements deliver even more reasons for walnuts to be offered alongside other ‘healthy’ foods like fruits and vegetables in retail locations.

The prominent in-store positioning will support shopper demands to easily find healthier food choices and offer opportunities for co-marketing programs with walnuts and complementary items.

“Bringing walnuts to the produce section will create new consumer habits and prompt more awareness that walnuts are good for you, which we believe will drive purchase,” predicted Verloop, citing research that shows three-quarters (76 percent) of consumers are more likely to purchase walnuts when they are displayed alongside fresh fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle.1

For more information about the California walnut industry, including consumer demand data and the latest nutrition research, please visit


  1. California Walnuts Consumer A&U, October 2021

About the California Walnut Commission
The California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers. The Commission is an agency of the State of California that works in concurrence with the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The CWC is mainly involved in health research and export market development activities. For more industry information, health research and recipe ideas, visit